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Producers Guild Announces “PGA Create” Immersive Lab for Underrepresented Producers

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) has announced the launch of “PGA Create,” a new immersive lab formed to help emerging and mid-career industry creatives from diverse backgrounds. Led by the PGA’s One Guild initiative, the program is designed for producers in active development, financing or packaging a feature or series. The program’s first cycle is for scripted feature films or series, which will take place from Oct. 25-28. Catering to documentary filmmakers, the second cycle will take place sometime in spring 2022.

The deadline for creatives to submit their applications for the scripted cycle is June 17, while the documentary cycle’s deadline is yet to be announced. More information can be found on the guild’s website.

A Remastered Version Of Stephen Spielberg’s ‘The Last Days’ Documentary Is Coming To Netflix

The Last Days,” the 1998 Academy Award-winning documentary from Steven Spielberg and USC Shoah Foundation, has been remastered and will be re-released on Netflix on May 19. The film traces the experiences of five Hungarian Holocaust survivors who fell victim to Adolf Hitler’s war against the Jews during the final days of World War II. The five — a grandmother, a teacher, a businessman, an artist, and a U.S. congressman — are chronicled as they return from the United States to their hometowns and to the ghettos and concentration camps that once imprisoned them.

“My sincere hope is this beautifully remastered version will serve as a catalyst to continued conversations around the consequences of antisemitism and hatred,” Steven Spielberg, the film’s executive producer and founder of USC Shoah Foundation, said.

The re-release of the film also commemorates the 77th anniversary of the mass deportation of approximately 440,000 Jews from Hungary from May 15 – July 9, 1944, which marks the largest mass deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau where the majority of men, women and children were killed in the gas chambers upon arrival.

Distributed theatrically by October Films, “The Last Days” is directed by James Moll and produced by June Beallor and Ken Lipper with music by Hans Zimmer.

‘Two Gods’ and ‘Pigeon Kings’ Among Black Docs Film Series Lineup

The Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers West (BADWest) has announced its lineup for its annual fundraising event – Day of Black Docs. Among the films screening will be “Two Dogs” by Zeshawn Ali and  “Pigeon Kings,” directed by Milena Pastreich.

Now in its 14th year, Day of Black Docs will be held virtually from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on  May 22.   It will be hosted by producer Tamika Lamison, the executive director of the Commercial Directors Diversity Program (CDDP), and creator of the Inclusion & Diversity Program under the umbrella of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP).

Also included in the lineup is  “It’s Yours,” directed by Marguerite de Bourgoing and short films by Crystal Kaylza (“See You Next Time”), John Fiege (“Shoulders Deep”) and Elizabeth Bayne (“A Cowgirl and Her Horse”)

Tickets are available at: http://www.dayofblackdocs.org.

DOC NYC Announces Inaugural Spring Edition Lineup

DOC NYC has announced its inaugural edition of the Spring Showcase. Among the documentaries included in the four-week online showcase are: “Louis Theroux: Life on the Edge,” “The Infinite Race” and “76 Days.”

The festival which runs from May 24 to June 20 will be a mix of nonfiction episodic series and films, paired with exclusive conversations. Padma Lakshmi, Steve James, Fran Lebowitz, Dr. Orna Guralnik, Asif Kapadia and Louis Theroux are all scheduled to appear.

“DOC NYC is excited to create a spring focal point to build upon our annual fall festival, now in its 12th year,” said the festival’s Executive Director Raphaela Neihausen. “We’re living through a period of rapid expansion of the documentary field, and we’re thrilled to offer a new opportunity to discover a diverse array of important nonfiction work. Over the last year, DOC NYC has expanded our professional and educational programming for filmmakers beyond the fall season, with great results. With Spring Showcase, we’re aiming to do the same for documentary-loving audiences as well.

All screenings are available throughout the US, with select programs also available to watch in Canada.

Viewers can subscribe to individual events or the entire program free of charge. Advance RSVP required – full info at www.docnyc.net/spring-showcase-2021. RSVPs for each event closes one hour prior to the event start.

IDA Appoints Richard Ray Perez as Executive Director Succeeding Simon Kilmurry

The International Documentary Association (IDA) has announced that Richard Ray Perez has been appointed as the organization’s Executive Director. Perez, succeeds Simon Kilmurry, who served as Executive Director since 2015.

Prior to his appointment, Perez served as Director of Creative Partnerships at Sundance Institute. He specializes in nonfiction film strategist and documentary filmmaking whose work focuses on the convergence of storytelling, thought leadership, and themes vital to contemporary societies.

“We are thrilled to welcome Rick into the IDA family. We strongly believe that Rick is uniquely qualified to lead the IDA through these continued extraordinary times where our voice in the field, as well as the depth of resources we offer to the documentary community as a whole, will matter even more,” said IDA Board President, Brenda Robinson. “We were all fortunate to have Simon Kilmurry with us during these past six very meaningful years, as his leadership has truly been transformative for the IDA. Simon has laid the groundwork for a solid foundation that all of us can continue to build upon. In that regard, he leaves a lasting legacy that truly changed the course of the IDA towards an even more promising future.”

“I am excited and honored to lead the IDA at this pivotal moment where the work of nonfiction filmmakers is increasingly vital to the health and wellbeing of societies,” said Perez. “I look forward to leading a talented team to support and advocate for documentary filmmakers and engaging partners and collaborators across the field to foster a vibrant, sustainable, and equitable industry responsive to these times.”

Sony Pictures Classics Updates Release Information for Summer Slate

Sony Pictures Classics has updated its summer release plans for “I Carry You With Me,” “12 Mighty Orphans” and “The Lost Leonardo.” All three films are set to screen at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival both in person and virtually.

The world premiere of the art documentary “The Lost Leonardo” will screen at Tribeca on June 13 at The Battery. Set to open in theaters in New York and Los Angeles, the film will expand to other markets shortly after.  “The Lost Leonardo” tells the story behind the Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting ever sold at $450 million. Produced by Andreas Dalsgaard for Copenhagen-based Elk Film and Christoph Jörg for Paris-based Pumpernickel Film, the documentary was directed by Andreas Koefoed. Sony Pictures acquired the rights to the film back in March.

“12 Mighty Orphans,” which stars Luke Wilson, Martin Sheen, Vinessa Shaw, Wayne Knight and Robert Duvall, will screen at Tribeca on June 14 at the Brooklyn Commons MetroTech. Opening in theaters in Texas on June 11, the film will expand to theaters nationwide on June 18. Directed by Ty Roberts, “12 Mighty Orphans” tells the true story of the underdog football team, the Mighty Mites, playing for the Texas state championships duirng the Great Depression.

Heidi Ewing’s “I Carry You With Me” will screen at Tribeca on June 15 at Hudson Yards. Set to open in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on June 25, the film will expand to other markets in the following weeks. “I Carry You With Me (Te Llevo Conmigo)” is a Spanish-language drama that follows a decade-spanning romance between an aspiring chef (Armando Espitia) and a teacher (Christian Vázquez). The film also stars Michelle Rodríguez, Ángeles Cruz, Arcelia Ramírez and Michelle González.

Netflix Releases Trailer For Kevin Hart’s ‘Fatherhood’

Netflix has released the trailer for the upcoming film “Fatherhood,” which releases on June 18. Based on Matt Loeglin’s memoir “Two Kisses For Maddy: A Memoir Of Loss & Love,” the film follows a widower (Kevin Hart) raising his daughter after his wife dies shortly after childbirth.

Alfre Woodard, Lil Rel Howery, DeWanda Wise, Anthony Carrigan, Melody Hurd and Paul Reiser also star.

Director Paul Weitz wrote the screenplay with Dana Stevens. Hart served as a producer on the film with Marty Bowen, David Beaubaire and Peter Kiernan. Executive producers are Betsy Danbury, Aaron L. Gilbert, Jason Cloth, Bryan Smiley, Jaclyn Huntling Swatt, Isaac Klausner, Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin.

Filmhub Expands Global Distribution with Roku Partnership

Filmhub, a dynamic disruptor in the film distribution space, has signed a global distribution agreement with Roku. Filmhub’s library of 10,000 films will be made available on the Roku Channel, which will provide an opportunity for its filmmakers to secure additional reach and monetization.

“By removing the roadblocks to distribution,” Alan d’Escragnolle, CEO and co-founder of Filmhub, says, “we are able to bring powerful, imaginative, insightful, and entertaining content to audiences worldwide.” He continued, “Whether a feature film, documentary, television series, or short film, Filmhub puts the power of distribution in the hands of the filmmaker. Now with The Roku Channel, we can reach even further.”

Femme It Forward Opens Applications For Next Gem Femme Mentorship Program

Femme It Forward, a female-led music and entertainment company, announced today that applications are now open for the Next Gem Femme Mentorship Program.

Through a comprehensive year-long program, mentees will receive exposure to real-time projects, one-on-one coaching, resume building lessons, industry insights and expertise, and relationship building opportunities. The inaugural program will include 200 mentees who are young women of color, with at least half of those participants being current students or alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s).

“Year after year, women and girls continue to make significant strides in the workforce. However, due to a lack of exposure, visibility, and resources, women of color continue to be left out of the conversation,” said Heather Lowery, President & CEO at Femme It Forward. “With the help of our incredible mentors, Next Gem Femme will allow us to further demonstrate our deeply rooted commitment to providing access and opportunities for the next generation of leaders by eliminating the opportunity gaps and structural barriers that exist for young women of color.”

“Next Gem Femme is such a powerful program and I’m thrilled to be part of the inaugural group of mentors. Supporting young women by providing them with access to the tools and networks they need to reach their full potential is vital to ensuring equity in the workforce,” said Ethiopia Habtemariam, Chairman and CEO of Motown Records and Next Gem Femme mentor. “The ripple effect that Next Gem Femme will have will impact generations and disrupt, not just the entertainment industry, but the entire workforce for the better.”

The full list of mentors can be found at www.femmeitforward.com/next-gem-femme.

“Knives Out,” “Better Call Saul” Colorist Aidan Stanford Joins Arsenal FX Color

Colorist Aidan Stanford has joined ArsenalFX Color. His recent credits include “Knives Out” as well as the television series “Better Call Saul”. He joins a growing post-production finishing department at ArsenalFX Color’s facility in Santa Monica where he will grade episodic television, independent features, studio features and other projects.

ArsenalFX Color Managing Partner Larry Field says he has been a fan of Stanford for years and is especially impressed by his recent work. “As an artist and professional, he fits perfectly with our culture and roster of talent,” Field observes. “His ability to work on all types of media, across genres, strengthens our offering to our clients. We are excited to welcome him on board at a time when we are expanding. The resources and support we provide will help him build on his already strong foundation.”

Stanford says that what he most enjoys about his role is the creative interaction with directors and cinematographers. “Whether it’s assisting a DP in getting his hard work finessed into final images or collaborating with a director to inject emotion into scenes, my work is incredibly rewarding,” he explains. “And it’s never the same twice. I have worked with some of the best production and post-production talent in the business. I feel fortunate.”

In discussing his new role at ArsenalFX Color, Stanford says it comes at a pivotal time in his career. “I’ve had a lot of success in the past and was eager to join a company with a creative focus and an intimate, family atmosphere,” he notes. “My background in features and as a color timer are a perfect complement to a team that already has so much knowledge and talent.”

Stanford hopes to help Arsenal FX Color implement new technologies and workflows with maintaining its commitment to craftsmanship and quality. “My goal is to keep pushing,” he says. “As technology advances, it allows artists to be more creative, but it can become convoluted if not applied properly. I want to implement new techniques while staying true to the virtues I have always relied on to achieve beautiful looks and exceed expectations.”